First Baptist wrong about YMCA building

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 23, 2004

To the editor:

First Baptist’s insistence on demolishing the old YMCA after years of neglect for a surface parking is unconscionable.

The Church’s jump into federal court gives the rest of the state the impression that preservation is an unpopular concept in Selma. Clearly, the Church exhibited poor stewardship of this building for the past eight years.

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Alabama’s preservation community supports the Selma Historical Commission and City of Selma in upholding their legally enacted ordinance. Churches across Alabama have prospered in historic buildings, historic neighborhoods, and historic downtowns. In fact, historic churches in conflict with their community are the exception rather than the norm.

In addition to their spiritual mission, we would hope that historic First Baptist acknowledges their cultural and social responsibilities to the community.

To litigate this matter in federal court is the arrogance of a few – an approach that is not representative of First Baptist’s track record or membership.

Chip DeShields

Executive Director

Alabama Preservation Alliance